Behind the Line

Michelle Bernstein's Sra. Martinez Brunch: Eggs, Tapas, and Fried Chicken

Get ready for some morning decadence as Sra. Martinez launches brunch. Michelle Bernstein's Spanish tapas-style restaurant, known for its unique and delectable tapas menu, takes on more traditional dishes that are close to Bernstein's heart. "Tapas are a big part of the concept at Sra., but I wanted to do a brunch in the style I love to eat brunch."

What's not to love about grits served with a tangy Tabasco butter and ham broth topped  with a poached egg. Or a patty melt smothered in caramelized onions and melted cheese that's oozing from under the toasted bread.

Curious to know how these dishes came about, Short Order spent a morning in the kitchen with Bernstein and Sra. Martinez's head chef, Bernice Dearaujo, as these two put the finishing touches on the menu.

We are told the testing goes on for a few weeks and today this hungry critic was treated to a few of the items from the Indulgences section of the menu. The airy ricotta pancakes with fresh lemon curd and golden brioche French toast stuffed with a rich banana cream kicked things off. Bernstein tells us that the two collaborate on the menu. Each spends a few hours putting together ideas to come up with the perfect selection, "it's really what we are in the mood for at the time." At this chef Bernice smiles and says "ultimately everything has a touch of Michelle in it."

Like long lost sisters the two chefs work in perfect unison; Bernstein stirring the Tabasco butter and chef Bernice checking to make sure the patty melt doesn't overcook. No recipe is put aside until it gets a nod from Michelle, "it has to work, even if it involves no sleep." Everything from texture, color, portion size and ultimately flavor, is put to a test. Spoons are flying and through it all Michelle's assistant Amanda is taking notes on what to change, add or delete. Not that it matters because Bernstein is in full control and in her element; clearly recipe testing is her favorite part." There is nothing better than spending a morning in the kitchen conceptualizing new dishes."Sra. Martinez officially opens its' doors to brunch tomorrow (Sunday) at 11 a.m. In addition to their selection of tapas ($5-$8), pinchos ($4-$7), delectable egg dishes ($6-$11) and other brunch favorites you can also nurse your hangover with Bernstein's fried chicken with waffles. Salty and crisp yet sweet and moist, all in the same bite.